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Messages - drmikeinpdx

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I was having the usual problems with the Canon straps, so I decided to try the Capture Pro belt clip from Peak Design.  It's beautifully machined and very secure.  You can pull your camera off your belt very quickly, but you do have to use your other hand to push the red safety release button first.

It's a very comfortable and secure way to carry a Rebel-class camera, but a 5D or 7D class camera gets a bit heavy, especially with the full frame EF lenses that are usually attached.  Oh,  the 5D 3 with the pancake lens is actually quite nice to carry that way.

It can sometimes be a bit fiddly when you are trying to slide the camera onto the belt clip.  I need to practice that more.   I also intend to get out one of my pistol belts and see if that makes the weight less annoying.

EOS Bodies / Re: No weekend rumors ever??
« on: August 10, 2014, 06:27:28 PM »
I'd love to see you do a review, Mt. Spokane!

Inviting guest bloggers to help support the site with new content is a time honored tradition in the blogosphere.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Quick and Dirty AFMA
« on: August 10, 2014, 01:51:53 PM »
Here's a photo of the target I use for AFMA:

It's about six feet long and each little square is one inch.  I like it because I can test at distances I typically use during a photoshoot.  Also, I can magnify the image on my 5D3's LCD screen and almost instantly find the exact point of focus.

You can also get a rough idea of the general sharpness of a lens and a feel for the chromatic aberration.

I usually take a few shots, refocusing each time, then I can scroll through the magnified images on the screen and quickly see if the focus is consistent.  With Canon lenses in good condition, it usually is.  I've taken this chart with me to camera stores and when meeting Craigslist sellers.

I'm really happy with this method.  You can see some more examples about half way down in my latest blog post about the 85mm 1.2 L.  This one is actually safe for work!  No naughty photos.  (Don't go to part two if you prefer to avoid that.)

Lenses / Re: How resistant are L lenses against the shocks/vibrations?
« on: August 04, 2014, 01:19:06 PM »
It's interesting how different photographers treat their equipment.  A few years ago I attended a workshop by glamour photographer Scott Church.  In his talk about the importance of equipment, he proudly stated, "I treat my equipment like s**t!"   He was perfectly happy doing work for the likes of Playboy with prosumer grade Nikon DSLRs.

Personally, having spent most of my life as an amateur photographer with a limited budget, I treat my gear with extreme care.  It's hard for me to comprehend the way some pros do the opposite.

Lenses / Re: How many years before we see a 50L II
« on: July 24, 2014, 12:19:06 AM »
I could certainly use a replacement for my Sigma 50 Classic, which is known for it's Timeless Rendering.  Unfortunately none of the other alternatives looks very attractive.  It is indeed a dark time for lovers of 50mm primes.

I am actually waiting for Canon to bring out a stabilized 50 of modest aperture to expand their line that includes the well-reviewed 35mm F/2 IS.

Lenses / Re: Canon 24-70 f/4L IS disappointing?
« on: July 21, 2014, 09:31:35 AM »
This thread has many familiar elements for me!  I still love my old Tamron 28-75 2.8  :)

I also love my various prime lenses when I am feeling artistic and have the time to play around during a photoshoot.

But when money is involved, I often use my trusty workhorse, the 24-105. The extra zoom range and the IS is worth more to me than the larger aperture of the 24-70 2.8 at a fraction of the price.

And I think we can all appreciate the frustration of having a lens that doesn't work well.  I was hoping that the invention of MicroFocusAdjustment would bring that sad era to an end, but it hasn't.

Sending your lens back to Canon was probably the best thing to do at this point.  Please let us know how it works when you get it back!

While I love the timeless rendition of my 50 Classic, the somewhat random autofocus was getting a bit tiring.  I've seen posts on the net saying that someone sent their Classic in to Sigma service and it came back focusing perfectly.

So last week I packaged up my Classic and sent it off to Ronkonkona (wasn't he a famous disk jockey?) for a tune up before the 4 year warranty runs out in a few months.

Round trip from Portland took 8 days.  Very impressive service by Sigma. The technician included a very short note to the affect that he "adjusted AF data sam"  Not sure what a sam is, but it's nice to know it's been adjusted.

I eagerly got out my big testing chart and did some autofocus testing in open shade outdoors.  I used one shot autofocus. 

Sadly, the autofocus is still somewhat random, definitely no better than before.  I tested at various distances (6-10 feet) and apertures, usually taking two or three shots and noting how much front or back focus.  then went back and tried to duplicate the results.  Sometimes I tried pressing the AF button multiple times to see if it would help.

Most of the time the point of focus is within the depth of field, but often just barely.  Since the lens front and back focused about equally, I decided to leave the microfocus adjustment at zero.

I'm not hearing good reports on the autofocus of the 50 Art lens, so I guess I will just keep enjoying the timeless rendition of the Classic until Canon eventually comes out with their next 50.

Lenses / Re: Something with 50mm L lens that make it different
« on: July 18, 2014, 01:58:32 PM »
It has a timeless rendition to it that you cannot explain with an MTF chart or sharpness test.

I love that phrase!  Mind if I use it in the Sigma 50 classic cult?

Join the cult here:

Photography Technique / Re: 85 vs 135 for portraits
« on: July 09, 2014, 09:55:12 AM »
Thanks for posting that link Sporgon!

Looking at Eastwood's examples, it appears to me that most of the variation in portrait perspective occurs in the range of 24mm to 70mm.  The difference between 100 and 300 was minimal to my eye.

Third Party Lenses (Sigma, Tamron, etc.) / Today's Cult Photo
« on: July 06, 2014, 10:19:53 PM »
Love the photos guys, keep posting!

Here is something I shot today for a friend who rides a Ducati Monster. I shot it with the "EX DG HSM" on my 5D3 at F/1.4, ISO 100, 1/125th hand held in full shade.  As I've said before, this lens does not always nail the focus, but it did pretty well this time.  I will include a crop of the focus point for educational purposes.

With all of my lenses, I typically use Lightroom to add a bit of clarity with the clarity slider and a fair amount of vignetting, especially photos of people in the shade.

HDR - High Dynamic Range / Re: Post your HDR images:
« on: July 01, 2014, 08:48:53 PM »
I've been using Photomatix for scenic shots with my T2i and trying to make them look pretty natural.  But a friend wanted some fun pix of himself and his car, so I put the 5D3 on a tripod with the 28mm F/1.8.  It seems that I really enjoy playing with the Creative styles in Photomatix. :)

This is a typical Subaru owner in Portland.

Dustin, if you want to join our cult, you can't be using terms like "green fringing."   I suggest "magical rendering" would be more appropriate.

And that inaccurate autofocus is "delightful randomness" that adds to the artistic experience!

Judging by what I used to read on the forums when this lens was a popular topic, there were a lot of bad copies out there.  Most of the complaints I saw were related to poor autofocus performance.  When I used this lens on my old 5D classic, the autofocus was terrible.  Most of the time it front focused, so I kept it stopped down a little and focused on the models ear instead of an eye.  I put the lens aside when I got lucky and found a Tamron 28-75 that focused well on that body. 

One day I tried the Sigma again and the front focus was gone, but the autofocus was still not very precise - maybe a 60% hit rate.

When I got my 5D3, all my lenses worked much better, so I started using the Sigma 50 again.  Like all 50 mm lenses in its class, it is pretty soft wide open, so you have to take that into account and use it to your advantage, like when you want a soft portrait for example.

Here is my Sigma 50 classic shot of the day.  Taken at F/1.4 on the 5D3.

You may not be able to see it at this size, but the plane of focus goes through the model's right eye and mouth.  The left eye and tip of the nose are slightly out of focus.  I normally prefer to stop down slightly for portraits with the 50 classic, but I shot some wide open for my forum friends.

Lenses / Re: Quality lens system for lightweight travel
« on: June 28, 2014, 09:40:34 AM »
I love my 5D3 and fast lenses, but I hate to carry them very far.  If I'm on vacation I want to relax and not feel like a beast of burden.  Since I wanted to stay in the Canon line, I use two smaller Canons when I travel.  For motorcycle trips where space is really tight, I carry an S100.  For car trips, I use a T2i with the rather nice stabilized kit lens.

Although the images don't have the smooth, fine detail of full frame images, they are perfectly usable for posting on the internet, which is where most of my photos end up.

I look at these small format images as a challenge to my processing skills.  For example, I recently started using Photomatix to do 3-exposure  HDR images with my T2i.  Although the two images below were taken with a light tripod, I've had really good luck doing this hand held using the exposure bracketing function of the T2i.

This is Diablo dam near Seattle:

This is Dry Falls, also in Washington state.  The tiny objects along the horizon are large grain silos.  Who says you can't shoot landscapes with an APS-C sensor?  LOL

A center crop:

Debating the best photo equipment for travel is fun, as there is no best answer.  It all depends on what kind of photos you take, what you do with them, and how sensitive you are to weight and bulk in your pack.

One other thing I take into consideration is the cost and what happens if my equipment is lost or damaged.  I get a little paranoid carrying my expensive gear on trips, but if something happens to my obsolete T2i, I won't feel bad at all.

Edit: my images got cropped to a square format by the forum software, sorry about that.

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